Ivan Lendl has sent out the warning signal that he is back on his game and setting his sights on the world's No. 1 ranking after disposing of Michael Stich 7-5, 6-3 in the championship match of the $750,000 Volvo Indoor.
"I would like to think that I can get back to No. 1 by the end of the year. Hopefully, I can do it earlier," Lendl said after disposing of Michael Stich 7-5, 6-3 to win the Volvo Indoor tennis tournament Sunday.Lendl, the top seed at Memphis a week after winning at Philadelphia, is currently ranked No. 3 by the ATP Tour. He completed the Memphis tournament with a total of 29 aces in five matches and won his final three matches in straight sets. The first part of the tournament was a bit of a struggle.
He saved his best effort for Stich, posting five aces and winning every point (33 of 33) when he placed his first serve in play.
"I'm very pleased. I hit the ball nice and clean. I didn't give him any free points, and I made a lot of big shots when I needed them," Lendl said.
Lendl, who defeated Stich in the quarterfinals last week in Philadelphia and is 4-0 lifetime against the German, said he played much better this week than in Philadelphia.
"I played better, but if you win - that's what counts," Lendl said after picking up his 90th career tournament title.
Lendl controlled Stich with an assortment of precision ground strokes and called upon a powerful serve when needed, defeating Stich in 90 minutes and picking up a $99,000 winner's check.
Stich, seeded seventh and ranked 25th, had not lost his serve in four previous matches. The defending champion earned $53,000 for his second-place finish.
Lendl, who will compete in Rotterdam, Holland, next, said he felt the key to the match was coming back to break Stich quickly in the second set.
"He's been serving so well. I had just won the first set and I didn't want to give him any points," Lendl said.